Apple Invades Car Technology

Mode of transportation or an expensive entertainment unit? Apple may or may not enter the car manufacturing industry (see our ar...

Mode of transportation or an expensive entertainment unit?

Apple may or may not enter the car manufacturing industry (see our article on the 'iTesla'), but it is definitely dipping its toes in the automotive world. In the recent Geneva Motor Show, Apple revealed CarPlay, their new feature that  integrates the iPhone with the vehicle’s infotainment system, essentially turning the car into a really expensive accessory for the iPhone.

With CarPlay, the driver can use the vehicle’s knobs, buttons and touch screen to access the iPhone’s functions, to make calls, read and send text, play music, navigate and, yes, you can even chat with Siri while driving.

Fueled by demand, automakers are cramming more and more interactive technology into vehicles. In a recent survey by Accenture, 40% of respondents from China made purchasing decisions based on in-car technology (read Car Drivers' Hankering For...). With CarPlay, automakers could take advantage of Apple’s advanced inter-connectivity applications by simply ensuring compatibility between their car’s interface and the iPhone, and car manufacturers could revert to what they do best – developing better engines and machines, rather than diluting their resources. If more and more carmakers adopt this open system (much like the universal USB plug that fits most gadget nowadays) and when CarPlay advances beyond an add-on feature, in-car connectivity will no longer be a differentiating factor when it comes to deciding which car to purchase.
Meanwhile, marques that will integrate CarPlay into their 2014 vehicles are Ferrari, Hyundai, Honda, Volvo and Mercedes-Benz. Other automakers that are reported to be interested in the new Apple offering but have yet to commit are the likes of BMW, Jaguar, Toyota, Land Rover and PSA Peugeot Citroen.

What happened to just driving while driving?

According to Distraction.gov, an official US government initiative, 3328 vehicular fatalities and 421 000 vehicular injuries in the US in 2012 were due to ‘distracted driving’, which definition includes using the mobile phone and infotainment system besides eating, talking and grooming while driving. Drivers aged 20 and below made up the largest fraction of distracted drivers. According to the website:

“Sending or receiving a text takes a driver's eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, the equivalent-at 55 mph-of driving the length of an entire football field, blind.”

No one in their right mind would drive across a football field with their eyes closed, so why would we text while driving which, according to Distraction.gov, is the same thing? Granted, car safety technology has improved in leaps and bounds, but we would not jump off a building just because we had a parachute either.

image: imore.com


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